Mr travelmad478 and I will be taking a long trip on Amtrak this week, 14 daytime hours. We're plotting what food to bring, and it struck us that it would be nice to have a bottle of wine, too. Sure, you can buy wine in the cafe car, but will Amtrak be OK with us bringing our own? I can't see why it would be an issue, but then again, I've never seen anyone do it. (This could be because I've never taken Amtrak outside the NEC!)
You may bring aboard your own private stock of alcoholic beverages subject to the following limitations:
You may consume private stock alcoholic beverages only in Sleeping Car accommodations for which you have a valid ticket.
You may not consume private stock alcoholic beverages in any public areas.
This is not to say that people haven't ignored the rules in the past. And if you're careful, discreet, and don't appear drunk you may well get away with it. But if you are caught, the conductor may do anything from simply giving you a warning, to forcing you to dump your stash, to removing you at the next stop.
Although generally the last choice is reserved for those who are 1) totally out of control, and 2) continue to drink even after they've been warned. But the conductor is lord and master of the train and he/she does have the right to kick you off without appeal.
I consumed heavily on the California Zephyr from Denver to San Francisco. However, that was a while back.
I was in coach, and we would all just go to the smoking car. I'm not even sure if they have a smoking car now. But in 1999, people were smoking more than cigarettes, and I was sharing a bottle or Makers Mark. It was a party atmosphere at 2am in the middle of the desert.
Now, I'm going to assume you can consume wherever if you're discrete. The conductor comes around about once every 12 hours, and he's just doing so to be a nice guy. I cannot stress enough that this is NOT air travel. Relax, have a drink, and make some friends; you're going to be on that rail for a LONG time.
I was on the Crescent one time where a guy was trying to buy too many drinks from the snack car and the attendant shot him down. She said: "Sir, this is a train, not a bar." Then she told him that if he was going to give her any trouble that she would get the conductor to throw him off at the next stop. He was throwing them back quickly and she was right to stop him.
I have had no problems drinking in coach. I carry a small bottle of liquor and keep it out of sight when I am not pouring. I mix it with soft drinks and only drink enough to get tipsy. Just be responsible with it and realize that it is a train and not a night on the town and you will have no trouble.
on my way home to NY from Washington I grab two large cans of beer and drink on the train. Never had an issue. Didn't even know that I'm not supposed to bring drinks on the train until I saw it on flytertalk